Ford government introduces health restructuring/privatization omnibus bill
An Analysis from Natalie Mehra, executive director of the Ontario Health Coalition, a province-wide advocacy group for quality public health care
Posted February 27th, 2019 on Niagara At Large
Under the guise of “service coordination” the Ford government is introducing its new health care legislation today.
Despite the rosy sounding rhetoric of the Health Minister that has focused entirely on positive-sounding words like “coordination” and “teams”, the draft legislation that was leaked a few weeks ago by a concerned civil servant to the NDP who made it public, was very clearly written to give the new “Super Agency” powers to order — with the stroke of a pen — the privatization of anything deemed a “support service” in almost all of the health care system.
Similarly, the “Super Agency” has the power to order the privatization of any procurement (not limited by definition). The Minister and the Super Agency together have powers to order transfers, closures, mega-mergers of virtually all health care providers.
For weeks now the Minister has tried to gloss over the privatization powers in the legislation by claiming that some parts of health care are already private for-profit and then saying that patients can still use their OHIP cards.
This covers the fact that the new legislation allows the transfer and closure of public non-profit hospitals, surgeries, diagnostics, ambulance services, home care, long-term care and other services to private for-profit companies.
It invites expressions of interest from for-profit companies, including giant multinational chain corporations like Centric Health that have already expressed interest in expanding in Canada and taking over integrated health services. (A few years ago, our efforts stopped the sale of the Shouldice Hospital to Centric.)
The Minister has not at any point been up-front and honest about this. Since the leaked legislation she has not strayed from these plans. She has only defended them, obfuscated, and tried to sidetrack attention.
The government has carefully controlled the release of the legislation. The Minister of Health held a press conference this morning to control the spin of the messaging but would not answer any questions about the details of the legislation saying that these would have to wait for the release at 1 p.m. when it is introduced in the Legislature.
This blatant attempt to continue to hide details until it is too late for the public to have any say, for groups that understand the implications to respond effectively continues. It in an affront to democracy.
We will fight this outrageous undemocratic process and we will send out a full analysis of the legislation this afternoon. The Health Coalition will fight any attempt to privatize our public non-profit health services and to foist mega-mergers of local health services on Ontarians.
~ Protecting Public Medicare for All ~
Ontario Health Coalition www.ontariohealthcoalition.ca
The Ontario Health Coalition is comprised of a Board of Directors, committees of the Board as approved in the Coalition’s annual Action Plan, Local Coalitions, member organizations and individual members. Currently the Ontario Health Coalition represents more than 400 member organizations and a network of Local Health Coalitions and individual members.
Our primary goal is to protect and improve our public health care system. We work to honour and strengthen the principles of the Canada Health Act. We are led by our shared commitment to core values of equality, democracy, social inclusion and social justice; and by the five principles of the Act: universality; comprehensiveness; portability; accessibility and public administration. We are a non-profit, non-partisan public interest activist coalition and network.
To learn more about the Ontario Health Coalition and its public advocacy work, click on – www.ontariohealthcoalition.ca
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